Jerusalem - South Africa's ambassador
to Israel was summoned to that country's Foreign Ministry on Thursday
to explain a recent decision by the South African cabinet to label
products from settlements in the West Bank as coming from "Occupied
Ambassador Ismail Coovadia would meet
with the head of the minsitry's Africa Desk, a Foreign Ministry
The South African government's
Wednesday decision came three months after Trade and Industry
Minister Rob Davies first raised the idea of affixing such labels on
goods from the West Bank.
A Wednesday statement from the Israeli
Foreign Ministry slammed the South African decision, calling it
"blatant discrimination based on national and political
"This kind of discrimination has
not been imposed - and rightly so - in any other case of national,
territorial or ethnic conflict," the statement said.
"What is totally unacceptable is
the use of tools which, by essence, discriminate and single out,
fostering a general boycott," the statement added.
South Africa is the first country to
specifically demand that goods manufactured in Israeli settlements
bear a specific "Occupied Palestinian Territory" label.
However, since 2003, the EU has
demanded that Israeli exporters specify on their export invoices
where their products are made, to prevent those made in Israeli West
Bank settlements from enjoying the duty-free status given to items
originating in Israel.
The spat over settlement labels is the
latest example of the increasingly strained ties between Israel and
South Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister
Ebrahim Ebrahim, raised Israeli hackles last week, when he
recommended South Africans refrain from visiting the Jewish state.
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